ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – According to a report released Tuesday, the Taliban seized, shackled, and shot to death 27 individuals in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley last month during an offensive against resistance forces in the area, contradicting the group’s earlier assertions that the victims were killed in fighting.
According to the article, one video of the killings shows five guys who are blindfolded and have their wrists tied behind their backs. The Taliban fighters then spray them with gunfire for 20 seconds before celebrating.
According to the researchers of Afghan Witness, an open-source project run by the UK-based non-profit Center for Information Resilience, the analysis represents a rare confirmation of allegations that the Taliban have employed cruel methods against opposition fighters and supporters. Since assuming power in August 2021, the Taliban have tightened and harshened their control, even as they seek international recognition for their government.
The report, according to Afghan Witness team head David Osborn, provides the “most clear-cut example” of the Taliban carrying out a “orchestrated purge” of resistance fighters.
Afghan Witness says it evaluated dozens of visual sources from social media, including videos and images, to definitively link one group of Taliban fighters to the killings of ten individuals in Panjshir’s Dara District, including the five seen in the video.
It also confirmed 17 other extrajudicial executions based on further photographs on social media, all of which showed dead males with their hands tied behind their backs. Geolocation and chrono-location were supported by videos and images of Taliban fighters with the bodies, as well as close-ups of the fighters at the scene. These were compared to other videos thought to show the group.
“We established the facts around the summary and systematic execution of a group of guys in the Panjshir Valley in mid-September using open-source tools,” Osborn said. “The detainees were shackled at the time of their death, posing no threat to their Taliban captors.”
Enayatullah Khawarazmi, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the military minister, stated that a delegation is probing the social media footage. He stated that he was unable to provide additional information because the inquiry was ongoing.
The spokesman for the Taliban-led government, Zabihullah Mujahid, was not immediately available for comment.
Mujahid was quoted last month as saying that the Taliban had murdered 40 resistance members and captured more than 100 in Panjshir. He didn’t say anything about how the 40 men died.
The struggle in the rocky Panjshir Valley north of Kabul — a remote region that has previously defied conquerors — arose from the final shattered remnants of Afghanistan’s security forces. It has pledged to fight the Taliban after they take over the country and capture power in August 2021.
“The Taliban committed war crimes by executing POWs who surrendered to them point blank,” claimed Ali Maisam Nazary, chief of foreign affairs for the National Resistance Front for Afghanistan.
According to Afghan Witness, there are 30 more dead as a result of the Taliban offensive on purported resistance militants in Panjshir last month.